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Filmmaker’s Spotlight – A One Man Band

  • March 19, 2014
  • Shane Hurlbut, ASC
Filmmaker’s Spotlight – A One Man Band

Meet Raphael Rogers, once a graphic designer from Michigan who took off for LA to bring more life and opportunities to his career. Raphael is the winner of our filmmakers spotlight this month!

Raphael Rogers Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights

Raphael was reaching for the sky and with the amount of attention that his latest short Beyond is receiving, he now has a manager and is taking meetings for an agent. That is all thanks to this film. We believe that he will definitely reach his goal of getting to the next step. Beyond has already been selected as a Vimeo staff choice award and got the attention of Hurlbut Visuals, Philip Bloom and Planet 5D.

Raphael Rogers directed, edited and filmed Beyond all as a one man band. This was not just because of the budget, but because he wanted to create a piece that would show off all of his strengths. This short was shot within California. Raphael worked on a tight schedule of just three days in production, which didn’t allow him much time to do many retakes. In fact, after production, Raphael decided he needed to vamp up the story a bit more to make it more interesting. He admits that recreating a story after the fact was definitely a backwards way of doing it and he knows it’s not always possible. Creating the short was a learning experience from beginning to end and now Raphael understands why having a great story before you even get to production is so important.

Beyond was inspired by science-fiction and mystery books that Raphael stays up at night reading. Through tips from other indie filmmakers, Raphael had heard that sci-fi shorts are a niche market with the potential of getting a lot of attention if you can do it right. And so that was his plan. Let’s check it out:

Raphael had initially selected to shoot Beyond with the RED, but unfortunately his rental deal fell through and the camera was shipped to New Zealand instead. Raphael knew he wanted a camera with a 1080p  output, so he collected all the money he had and rented a Canon C100. While Raphael was taking a huge gamble to work with a camera he didn’t know, he immediately felt at ease because the image quality looked so great directly from the camera. As a 5D Mark II owner, Raphael already owned a number of Canon lenses and used the EF 24mm IS, 50mm 1.4, 100mm macro IS 2.8, and the Tokina 11-16mm on the C100. The C100 really shined in low-light situations. In hindsight, Raphael believes that the C100 helped him out much more than the RED could have, especially because he was able to plug an XLR directly into the camera with the Rode NTG1 and get great usable ambient audio. If he shot with the RED, he would have also needed to rent extra modules, which would have made the rigs heavier to carry and not an ideal situation for a one-man-band shooting hand held a lot. For all other audio needs, Raphael used the Rode NT1-A a condenser mic and used the magic of Adobe Audition and degraded it.

Raphael offered some advice for other one-man/woman bands out there. He feels that Adobe offers a great workflow with all the tools needed to make up for not having the support of either a gaffer or production sound operator and boom operator on set with you.

Raphael Rogers Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights

A lot of the lighting effects came from post lighting.The sun flares? Those are all added in after the fact.

Raphael Rogers Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights

As a solo creator, just him and his actress, Raphael knew that he would need to rely heavily on shooting with Canon log and color correcting with After Effects in post.

Raphael Rogers Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights

To enhance the image as best as he could, Raphael used the the Atomos Ninja on nearly every shot, with the exception of the apartment scene, because he couldn’t figure out how to force it to work without movement. The Ninja is a 10 Bit HDMI to ProRes Recorder that also offers monitoring and logging features. It takes an uncompressed HD and encodes it in real-time to 10-bit, 4:2:2 Apple ProRes.

Raphael Rogers Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights

Everything was shot with available light. To avoid any major lighting issues, Raphael didn’t take any chances and avoided nightfall.

The C100 size and weight also really played well for Raphael’s storytelling because it made accomplishing hand-held shots so much easier. While the smaller camera didn’t prevent Raphael from running around changing lenses, he also didn’t have to worry about crazy camera set-ups as well. Raphael’s stabilizers were very basic. While he shot mostly hand held, he also had used the Glidecam HD4000 and a home-made slider.


While the Glidecam with the C100 was much heavier than his usual go-to-camera, the EOS 5D Mark II, Raphael felt it definitely added to the production value. The second stabilizer he used was a home-made slider from a kit offered by www.juicedlink.com. To take out the shakiness of this self-made slider, Raphael used the stabilizer effect in After Effects.


His advice to other filmmakers trying to get into the business is to just keep getting out there and keep making new material. He suggests you find your inspiration from a song or a book, like he did. He is a firm believer of “practice makes perfect.” Congratulations to Raphael Rogers for your success thus far and we wish you the best of luck in the future!

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